Back when 8 Diagrams came out it did so amidst a flurry of controversy. They hadn't released an album since 2001's Iron Flag and the naysaying wasn't just coming from critics and listeners, but the Clan themselves. Ghost and Rae were particularly vocal about their financial and creative problems with RZA during the making of the album, with Raekwon going so far as to say that the Clan was going to go ahead with another album without The RZA at the helm entitled Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang.
There was definitely stuff to like about 8th Diagrams, but all in all, you could definitely see that there was trouble in the ranks. While listening to the album I couldn't help but wonder what Rae's vision of a RZA-less album would sound like. Over the years all of the members of the Clan have worked with some incredible producers, whether on solo projects or on one of the post-36 Chambers group albums so they've already got a fairly expansive catalog of soundsmiths to pick from their old material. That's to say nothing of the high profile producers that've been influenced by RZA's sound. It's something that's rolled around in my head for a while, and after seeing this article snippet over at Metal Lungies about RZA waxing on the next Wu-Tang album, I finally decided to do something about it. Namely, put together a mix of songs with producers that've either worked with Wu-Tang members or producers that sound like they could craft suitable soundscapes for the Wu to get open over. The goal being to approximate what a Wu album without RZA at the head might sound.
I don't want to do this half-assed, so while I've got a rough tracklist put together already, I'm gonna take my time trimming and adding. To hold y'all over, here's one joint that's definitely going to make it, "The PJs" off of Pete Rock's 2008 album NY's Finest:
Pete Rock's worked with the clan on more than a couple occasions, most notably crafting bangers for Ghostface, but "The PJs" was one of the first songs I thought of when I decided to put this mix together. If Cuban Linx 2 ever sees the light of day it'll be crime if there's not a Pete Rock beat on there. PR provides the perfect backdrop for Rae's late night criminology rap.
Keep it locked to What's Good for whole mix, coming soon.